Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 15 September 2015

After awakening today to the possibility that Australia might be following Vanuatu’s lead – our neighbour country "choosing" a fourth prime minister in just over two years – it was back to the depressing news and bitter reality of our main concern – Vanuatu’s Bribery Case …

Radio Vanuatu News reports this lunchtime that Justice Mary Sey took evidence from the Director of Lands, Jean-Marc Pierre, and one of his valuation officers, despite an objection from the lawyer for the head of PITCO (Thomas Bayer) and MP for Epi (Robert Bohn) saying there were no grounds for taking evidence of this kind at this time when it would be used at the case for complicity in bribery. Justice Sey refused the objection and the court learned that the small piece of land in question (9,000 square metres) had been given by Yannick Milne to his daughter Marie-Louise Milne, wife of the main suspect in the Bribery Case, Moana Carcasses. The land is that which PITCO’s CEO Bayer had sought in covering the placement of VT 50 million to the credit of Moana Carcasses Kalosil.

The smirk normally seen on the face of Moana Carcasses Kalosil during the Bribery Case hearings departed as he left the court room yesterday to discuss with his lawyer allegations that he, DPM Carcasses, had threatened a female witness, Sophie Mera, Daily Post reported this morning that the Police are investigating her complaint. Justice Sey pointed out the seriousness of the matter: "If I get another complaint like this I am going to revoke your bail conditions and you will be kept incarcerated until the case is completed," Post reported.

Post covered three MPs refusing the loan offer yesterday in today’s paper. Isaac Hamariliu, MP for Epi, associated with the then government in November last year, said that a loan offer of a million vatu initially had been made by Carcasses, which would have been followed by payments of VT 200,000 on a regular basis until VT 4 million had been issued. Hamariliu did not accept. Nor did MP Don Ken, when approached by MP Tony Nari, MP Hosea Nevu and Jay Ngwele. He understood the loan "up to VT 5 million" was to "make Mr Carcasses the next PM." MP James Bule likewise did not accept an offer made by Carcasses in November last year inside the ANZ Bank. Other Prosecutions witnesses, including civil servants, gave evidence and continue to do so this afternoon.

There is some good news …

VNPF has acquired a 14.40% stake in UNELCO (Post today) … and …

NUP President and interim Leader of the Opposition, Ham Lini, has told Daily Post that NUP and other parties of the Re-Unification Group will support the candidacy of Kenneth Natapei in next month’s Port Vila by-election. He believes Graon mo Jastis Pati will also support the VP candidate.